10 Mind-Blowing Theories That Will Change Your Perception of the World

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The reality is not as obvious and simple as we like to think.

Some of the things that we accept as true and take at face value are notoriously wrong.

Scientists and philosophers have made every effort to change our common perceptions of it. The 10 examples below will show you what I mean.

1. Big Freeze.

Big Freeze is the theory of the final state that our universe is heading toward. The universe has a limited supply of energy. According to this theory, when that energy finally runs out, the universe will devolve into a frozen state. The thermal energy produced by the motion of the particles will gradually wear out, which means that eventually, this particle motion will slow down and, presumably, one day, everything will stop.

2. Solipsism.

Solipsism is a philosophical theory, which asserts that nothing exists but the individual’s consciousness. At first, it seems silly, but if you think about it, it really is impossible to verify anything but your own consciousness.

To check this out, take a moment to recall all the dreams that you have experienced in your life. Is it not possible that everything around you is nothing but an incredibly intricate dream? But, you may say, there are people and things around us that we cannot doubt because we can hear, see, smell, taste and feel them, right? Yes, and no. People who take LSD, for example, say that they can touch the most convincing hallucinations, but we do not claim that their visions are a “reality”. Your dreams can simulate sensations as well. After all, what you perceive is just a product of the information processing that takes place in different sections of your brain.

As a result, which parts of existence can we not doubt? Probably none. Each of us can only be sure of their own thoughts.

3. Idealism

George Berkeley, the father of Idealism, argued that everything exists as an idea in someone’s mind. Berkley discovered that some of his peers considered his theory to be stupid. The story goes that one of his opponents kicked a stone with his eyes closed and said, “I disprove it thus!”

The idea was that if the stone really only existed in his imagination, he could not have kicked it with his eyes closed. The way Berkeley refuted this is hard to understand, especially in these days. He argued that there was an omnipotent and omnipresent God who was able to see everything simultaneously.

4. Plato and the Logos.

Everybody has heard of Plato. He is one of the world’s most famous philosophers. Like all philosophers, he had a few things to say about the nature of reality. He argued that beyond our perceived reality, there lies a world of “perfect” forms. Everything that we see is just a shade, an imitation of how things truly are. To learn more about these ideas, read about Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, which is a sort of the ‘Matrix‘ in its ancient version.

Plato argued that by studying philosophy, we have a chance of catching a glimpse of how things truly are and discovering the perfect forms of everything we perceive.

In addition to this stunning statement, Plato, being a monist, said that everything is made of a single substance. This means (according to him) that everything – from stars in the sky to the dust under your bed – consists of the same basic material, but in a different form. With the discovery of atoms and molecules, it has been proven true to an extent.

5. Presentism.

Time is something that we perceive as a reality. Of course, we usually divide it into the past, present and future. Presentism argues that the past and the future are imagined concepts while only the present is real.

In other words, today’s breakfast and every word of this article will cease to exist after you finish reading it until you open it to read it again. The future is just as imaginary because the time cannot exist before and after it happened, as claimed by St. Augustine.

6. Eternalism.

Eternalism is the exact opposite of presentism. This is a philosophical theory that says that time is multi-layered. All layers of the time exist simultaneously, but the measurement is determined by the observer. What they see depends on which point they are looking at.

Thus, dinosaurs, Queen Victoria and Justin Bieber all exist simultaneously but can only be observed from a specific location. If one takes this view of reality, then the future is hopeless and the deterministic free will is illusory.

7. The Brain in a Jar

The “brain in a jar” thought experiment is a question discussed by thinkers and scientists who, like most people, believe that one’s understanding of reality depends solely on their subjective feelings.

So, what is the essence of this thought experiment? Imagine that you are just a brain in a jar that is run by aliens or mad scientists. How would you know? And can you truly deny the possibility that this is your reality?

This is a modern interpretation of Descartes’ evil demon problem. This thought experiment leads to the same conclusion: we cannot confirm the actual existence of anything except our consciousness. If this seems to sound reminiscent of the movie “The Matrix“, it is only because this idea was part of the very basis of the story. Unfortunately, in reality, we have no red pills…

8. The Multiverse Theory

multiverse reality

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Anyone who has not spent the last ten years on a desert island has heard of “the multiverse” or parallel universes at least once. As many of us have seen, parallel words, in theory, are worlds very similar to ours, with little (or in some cases, large) changes or differences. The multiverse theory speculates that there could exist an infinite number of these alternate realities.

What’s the point? In a parallel reality, you may be living in the opposite corner of the world or may have already died in a car crash. In another one, you might have never even been born because your parents never met. The probabilities are endless.

9. Fictional realism.

This is probably the most fascinating branch of the multiverse theory. Superman is real. Yes, some of you would probably choose a different story, for argument’s sake, Harry Potter might be real too.

This branch of the theory argues that given an infinite number of universes, everything must exist somewhere. So, all of our favorite fiction and fantasy may be descriptive of an alternate universe, one where all the right pieces came into place to make it happen.

10. Phenomenalism.

Everyone is interested in what happens to things when we aren’t looking at them. Scientists have carefully studied this problem and some of them came to a simple conclusion – they disappear. Well, not quite like this.

Phenomenalist philosophers believe that objects only exist as a phenomenon of consciousness. So, your laptop is only here while you are aware of it and believe in its existence, but when you turn away from it, it ceases to exist until you or someone else interacts with it. There is no existence without perception. This is the root of phenomenalism.

Which of these mind-blowing theories about the nature of reality appeal to you most of all? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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About the Author:

Anna is the founder and lead editor of the website Learning-mind.com. She is passionate about learning new things and reflecting on thought-provoking ideas. She writes about science, psychology and other related topics. She is particularly interested in topics regarding introversion, consciousness and subconscious, perception, human mind's potential, as well as the nature of reality and the universe.

400 Comments

  1. John A. Kraft May 12, 2018 at 12:04 am - Reply

    1. Big Freeze is the theory of the final state that our universe is heading toward Finish the sentence.
    2. I think; therefore I am.
    3. Can ideas have physical characteristics?
    4. Matter and energy are interchangeable.
    5. overlaps logical positivism
    6. This self destructs since it forbid its ever being proven.
    7. All determinisms self destruct since they forbid their being tested objectively.
    8. Physical evidence is not everything but it can’t be excluded either. This is too speculative.
    9. escapist to the extreme
    10. What is you are hit in the head in the dark by a bullet you are not aware of? Does it hurt you? Is it real? I have to deal with the whole of reality, not play games.

  2. Spencer May 13, 2018 at 8:42 pm - Reply

    The Multiverse theory has fascinated me for years and will fascinate me for the rest of my life. The mere idea that there could be a universe almost like ours yet is a little bit different makes you want to question reality. It even makes you wonder if your dreams are reality while your conscious life is a dream.

    I do believe that – because of the mere size of the universe – we shouldn’t be so quick to dismiss the theory. There was a time where we thought there weren’t any planets like ours – yet through research we’ve discovered numerous exoplanets that are very similar to Earth. That’s not including the billions of other exoplanets that may still be out there. We’ve also made fascinating discoveries such a stars orbiting stars, pulsars, neutron stars, and more.

    Given how much we already know about our universe – there is so much more that we don’t know. The discovery might not be made in our lifetime, but I have confidence we’ll find out that there are indeed parallel universes.

  3. John Dekker May 20, 2018 at 8:55 pm - Reply

    Amazingly, we see no reference to a Godhead, as if it should be dismissed. Do we err if we dismiss it? Since the phenomenalist believes existence as a phenomenon of consciousness. Quantum physics tells us that observation has effect on reality. My problem (perceived) is my struggle with religion! Which appear to me now as having nothing to do with spirituality, but everything to do with fear and obedience,for a reward of eternal bliss in heaven. So now if I throw out the religious part, and I remain with the spirituality, accepting a Godhead, not as a bearded angry father, but as energy having intelligence how do I come to terms with creation and my existence ie., my purpose therefore my role in this mystery of “life”.
    As a person and parent what is it I am searching for? Primarily I would think “Happiness” for self and my offspring. How do I address that essentially. Things have occurred in my life that compel me to believe in something greater than myself that have guided me onto different paths not necessarily planned out by me, yet are a strong reality for me, such that denial of a Godhead seems not possible. So, do I now address my earthly purpose or do I examine why am I here? If I choose to examine my earthly purpose at happiness I have looked at what has been a passion for me such that I can recognize the enjoyment (and pain) of my efforts and acknowledge a form of success and failures as a human being amongst my fellow man, this has virtually nothing to do with a God and mostly with pleasure, not happiness. If I choose to examine why I am here, I find myself standing in awe, of something so powerful that I,we, are not be capable to comprehending. So I look at my presence here as a gift, which if we are really a spiritual phenomena, would not get to understand the amazing beauty of our physical senses. In that form are we here to learn? Since most of our journey consists of learning. Certainly as I walk with my dog in the park or woods or water near by I pray in cheer joy of having been given this gift of life and stand in awe of its beauty, power and perfection, yet also its flaws which make me question its perfection. Yet I am reminded that how do we know joy without having seen anguish. For the time being I take comfort in my passion for my effort at business, providing a source of income for myself , and others, being a dreamer of possibilities, and a fighter to accomplish my dreams. All of which might not be possible except for the blessing of health, given to me by God? Amen! As for religion? Too many borders, man made, and self serving, to its own survival as an organization each having claims to a corner on the salvation market. Yet they may be right in their essential form, “love”, not dogma. Yet why fret over what might be if the day is sweet.

    • Peace June 28, 2018 at 7:59 am - Reply

      I’ve been through a similar stage in life. I’m literally considered a medical miracle. So for me knowing there was something much greater than any person out there I noticed at around three. My purpose seemed to be of great question while my siblings had theirs handed to them by people who obeyed and accepted the gifts of the spirit (their purpose, reason for their very existence). When I finally had that spiritual moment and understood my path and purpose I realized that it had been right in front of me, and I had actually been doing it long before I realized it.
      What I can tell you is that you were created for the very purpose and path God has planned for you. I agree a lot with your viewpoint on religion. I feel like religion puts God in a box where as it’s our spirituality that allows God to move freely in our life.
      I take quite a bit of crap from people who tell me that I only pick and choose the benefits of Christianity because I believe that science is a gift of knowledge from God. If we are to seek both wisdom and knowledge then disregarding the knowledge is disregarding wisdom. Without knowledge wisdom makes no sense. I find it interesting how those who don’t believe are quick to dismiss the tiniest possibility of Gods existence. This is because they deny proven fact if it doesn’t fit their ideology, and stand firmly on theories that are nowhere closer to becoming a fact or law than Biblical theories, but have lost the very interest they started out with. When it comes to Godly theories science is constantly trying to prove them as fact.
      In fact denomination, man made doctrines in religion are what says science is false. Neither science, nor the actual word of God actually denies the existence of each.
      The best way I can explain the craziness of religion is that religion loses it’s credibility when people place their own convictions as a doctrine, and then becomes a denomination.
      I’ve never been a fan of people using the scare tactic of the wrath of God. God would never want you to come to Him out of fear of His wrath. Scare tactics like that are the work of manipulation, and since He gives us free will to choose for ourselves the person would not actually be seeking Him of their own free will. They would be seeking Him out of manipulation which does inhibit the free will of people.
      As for me the belief in God is the only possibility for my existence. Science and bio-medicine has proven fact for every reason why I should’ve never been born much less still be alive today. I’ve done quite a bit of research on deities, and out of all the deities I’ve come across not a single one would have any reason to keep me alive against the laws of nature other than God Himself.
      On your journey through this life seek wisdom and knowledge (be prepared to find out a lot of stuff you may not want to know or accept). Ask for God to lead, guide and direct you during confusing times. Pray in the name of Jesus because there’s much power in the name of the son of God. When you’re unsure of circumstances let God give you the discernment you need through the Holy Spirit. Love God with all your heart, mind and soul.
      Before I post this novel of a reply I just want to make a statement about my belief in The Holy Trinity. I don’t in any way believe that Jesus and the Holy Spirit are a god. There’s only one God the other two are a part of God. Jesus is the son of God, and the Lord who came to conquer the law that so many judge God by, and to die for our sins. The Holy Spirit is a gift given to believers to help us along the way.

  4. Teejay June 14, 2018 at 4:14 pm - Reply

    I think, if we add them all together into one theory, we might be closer to the truth 😉

  5. Aleksandra June 19, 2018 at 9:20 pm - Reply

    2. Solipsism.10. Phenomenalism….I was thinkinkg about these two teories before I readed this.I didnt know that these teories actually existed.So yeah it makes sense to me…..Like everything else …haahh

  6. raghav sharma June 20, 2018 at 2:32 pm - Reply

    Great article!!! You have provided very useful facts through your blog. Keep writing up such articles its a pleasure to read them.

  7. Peace June 28, 2018 at 5:25 am - Reply

    I find number ten to be more of a concept than a philosophy. It falls into the concept of the out of sight, out of mind concept. With the advancement of scientific technology we’ve learned that just because you can’t see it doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. We obviously know that just because a tree falls in the forest with no one around to hear it come crashing down does not mean it doesn’t make a sound.

  8. Rajendra June 29, 2018 at 3:58 pm - Reply

    Plato theory seems to be very close to what I have experienced. In India, such topics are discussed in great depth by the people who had and who have very deep knowledge and experience about it.

    In brief an example :…… there is a dinner set made of say stainless steel…… forks, spoons, bowls, plates, glasses, knives, so on…..

    Keep all of these at one place together and ask what do you see ? spoons, glasses, plates, bowls, knives, forks ? Obviously as the question asked is very simple but…….. misunderstood (due to lack of “that” experience or “knowledge”).

    The right answer is……. you see (only) same stainless steel in different shapes made for different purposes……

    This is how exactly ….. there is a power / element / substance / what ever we can name it because to name it we only have what all we humans created……. if we see anything first time in our life we tend to try to compare it first to find an appropriate name for what we have seen first time….. am I right ?
    This power is omnipresent in everything we see, feel, imagine, think, visualize, dream of, it is always there, present with its state which can only be experienced and cannot told or shown or drawn or explained by any available means except…….. can be experienced by self.
    That power is the true form of anything which exists, rest all is a mere illusion of course…..

    We believe it exists in our bodies also which we recognize or call as “The Soul”, which is a smallest possible part of this omnipresent power inside the body…..
    That is what we are actually and not this body and its belongings we carry everywhere till we are alive.

    Example in easy words : Take an empty glass made of glass, keep it on a table upside down. What is there inside the glass ?
    Trapped air ( but cannot be seen), which is a part of the air everywhere (which cannot be seen ), in the atmosphere.
    Now slide/move this glass as it is on the table from one place to another….. what is happening ? The trapped air inside the glass goes or travels where all this glass goes.
    Now take a small hammer and hit the glass from outside to just create a crack or you can break it also….. what happens ?
    The body (glass) is broken and hence does not exist anymore, but the air trapped inside got merged into the air in atmosphere and became the whole amount of that huge, giant air in the atmosphere……
    The Soul in the body also gets merged with the omnipresent power when the body is dead…… but it further has some rules to get merged, if those were not followed by the body or body owner (when the body was alive), the soul cannot get merged into the omnipresent power…… this further has an interesting truth to be shared….
    Thank you for your patients…… 🙂

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